Michael McDowell was born June 1, 1950 in Enterprise, Alabama and attended public schools in southern Alabama until 1968. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in English from Harvard, and in 1978 he was awarded his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Brandeis. His seventh novel written and first to be sold, The Amulet, was published in 1979 and would be followed by over thirty additional volumes of fiction written under his own name or the pseudonyms Nathan Aldyne, Axel Young, Mike McCray, and Preston Macadam. His notable books include the Southern Gothic horror novel The Elementals (1981), the serial novel Blackwater (1983), which was first published in a series of six paperback volumes, and the trilogy of “Jack & Susan” books. By 1985 he was writing screenplays for television, including episodes for a number of anthology series such as Tales from the Darkside, Amazing Stories, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Tales from the Crypt. He went on to write the screenplay for Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice (1988) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), as well as the script for Thinner (1996). McDowell died December 27, 1999 from AIDS-related illness. Tabitha King, wife of author Stephen King, completed an unfinished McDowell novel, Candles Burning, which was published in 2006.